Marshall Clinical Expert | April 25, 2024 | Building Blocks Program

Three Simple DIY Activities for a Child Diagnosed with Autism

As clinical experts and many of us parents ourselves,

we resonate with the fast-paced life you live and the immediate concerns that come with experiencing the uncertainty of receiving an unexpected diagnosis. Not knowing what direction to turn, oftentimes blaming yourself, wondering who will be the most reliable (and immediate) source of help, and ultimately, what is going to make things "normal" the fastest way possible.

If you're reading this, there's a pretty high chance that you know exactly what we are describing to be similar to your personal testimony. We hope that you have found the most reliable therapy team to care for your child and equip you with all of the things that you not only need but that you deserve.

If you have not yet established that foundation, the Marshall team wants to encourage and remind you that through our multidisciplinary approach to treatment, we are able to really cover all of the bases. We fight behind the scenes every single day to ensure you are cared for in the most comprehensive manner. From an initial evaluation, through the insurance/payment parameters, to community partners to advocate on your behalf, we want you to feel empowered on your therapy journey.

Your challenges are our challenges, too.

The overall effectiveness of therapy goes far beyond what goes on solely in the clinical setting. By actively using the resources, techniques, and tools provided by one’s therapist and through credible Autism materials, you are helping one achieve milestones faster.

With no surprise, developmental milestones might look differently for an autism diagnosis. Through therapy and time spent in multiple learning environments, the child is becoming more proactive, self-aware, and stronger both mentally and physically. The caretaker is also able to learn more tips and tricks to handle particular situations with confidence. This education then becomes a helpful asset to share with other families. Suddenly, a bonding community is formed and is more impactful than it has ever been before.

Therapy, most of the time, can be hard work and challenging to overcome specific obstacles, but it certainly does not have to be super expensive or time-consuming! There ARE definitely ways that you can implement FUN activities into the mix of play at home or even on the go for your child regardless of their condition. Most of the time, these are even fun for the entire family!

Our Marshall Pediatric Therapy Clinical Experts want to introduce you to three affordable "do it yourself" activities inclusive of some shoppable links that are also educational and therapeutic.

Build a Sensory Bin or Box

Sensory boxes help children with autism relax and be able to concentrate. Sensory boxes are also great for learning new vocabulary words and exploring different textures. Sensory boxes are often times more manageable when it comes to sensory processing.

Suggestions of items you will need:

  • Feathers

  • Dried lentils or beans

  • Glitter

  • Sand

  • Puzzle pieces

  • Dried rice

  • Leaves

  • Plastic beads

  • Miniature animal figurines

  • Pom poms

  • Shaving cream

  • Pipe cleaners

  • A plastic bin, box, or water table

  • Water


2. Playdough stamping with Legos or household items like a kitchen whisk or pasta

Suggestions of items that you will need:

  • Playdough

  • Legos

  • Glitter (for a little something extra)

  • Pasta with grooved edges or shapes (our favorite)

  • A whisk (the silicon is soft + safe for littles!)

  • A clear, labeled bag for storage (we love that these are waterproof and heavy-duty for all of the things!)


3. Make some “cloud dough”

Suggestions of items that you will need:

  • Glitter

  • Sand

  • Corn starch

  • Jello or Koolaid mix

  • Food coloring

  • Baby lotion


The full recipe can be found here:

Sensory play helps to:

  • Increase motivation

  • Decrease frustration

  • Regulate the vestibular system

  • Improve social play

  • Develop fine motor skills

  • Decrease the occurrence of meltdowns

  • Increase communication skills

  • Increase the play with a sibling or parent

  • Increases their exercise

  • Decreases boredom

  • Decreases aggressive behaviors

  • Teaches the child to follow directions

  • Teach receptive language skills

  • Teaches the child to imagine and pretend

  • Increases daily living skills


  1. Miniature legos/building blocks

  2. Waterproof activity bags with labels

  3. Kinetic sand

  4. Glitter!

  5. Silicone whisks (soft and durable)

  6. Stretchy, neon string

  7. Dino figurines

  8. Play-doh

  9. Fun-colored plush pom pom beads

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and are inspired to make some unique activities at home! If you're looking for a consistent therapy basis or need help in any way, we want to be an extension of your team! Make sure to visit our locations page.